Angela Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle
She writes, “Progressive struggles . . . are doomed to fail if they do not also attempt to develop a consciousness of the insidious promotion of capitalist individualism”. Dr. Davis, unmistakably, identifies that anything or anybody threatens the sanctity of white supremacy there will be consequences. Therefore, she is very certain that activist, organizers and abolitionist must never allow their movements to be co-opted into a singular individual. The importance of communal strength is important “in order for people today to recognize their potential agency as a part of an ever expanding community of struggle.” Throughout the text it remained imperative that people understood their power and agency. Dr. Davis denotes, “Every change that has happened has come as a result of mass movements.… Many people are under the impression that it was Abraham Lincoln who played the major role, and he did as a matter of fact help to accelerate the move toward abolition, but it was the decision on the part of slaves to emancipate themselves and to join the Union Army – both women and men – that was primarily responsible for the victory over slavery…. When one looks at the civil rights era, it was those mass movements – anchored by women, incidentally – that pushed the government to bring about change.”
It is one thing to talk about freedom but it is another thing to live the life of an abolitionist. What Dr. Angela Davis does in this text is demonstrate what active abolitionist work resembles versus symbolism and rhetoric. Her life becomes the canvas through which we begin to see how freedom is a constant struggle. As she so elegantly articulates, “she took on the government and won.” That alone is enough to garner one’s attention.
One thing that became extremely clear was her intentionality of reshaping how we view the criminal systems that continually labeled folks as criminals. When a system is unjust it is incapable of rendering a just verdict of any kind. Dr. Davis is clearing the hubris of white supremacy that lingers from years of injustice within the criminal justice system.